Leicester’s brand new bowling and gaming attraction, Lane7, opened its doors to the public on Saturday 24th October, and we were very excited to get a sneak peek at the press event the evening before.
Located in the historic old Leicester Central station (just off the inner ring road in the city centre) as you approach the building, its clear to see the vast majority of the building’s original architecture has stayed intact which gives the venue a distinctly unique feel.
Upon entering, you’re instantly greeted by what many of us have missed at social venues this year – an atmosphere. Music, neon lights, chatter from the (socially distanced) groups sitting on benches below the enormous 6m x 3m live sports screen, this is the evening out we’d been waiting for.
When I say that Lane7 has everything, I mean everything. This is so much more than just a bowling alley. Retro and modern arcade games alike, pool tables, shuffleboard, beer pong, crazy golf (coming soon), a photobooth disguised as a portaloo, slushie cocktails served from an old ice cream van, prosecco on tap, a whole host of street food and bars to choose from – this place is a dream. There are also plenty of social distancing measures in place, face masks are mandatory at all times aside from eating and drinking, and hand sanitising stations can be found on every corner.
Although this isn’t just a bowling alley, the bowling itself deserves its credit. With 6 lanes downstairs and 5 upstairs, Lane7 makes use of all the space it has. The train station decor only adds to the retro vibe of the place – the scoreboards are resonant of departure boards, and seeing the sun set as you play through the glass ceiling is a lovely touch for an evening of entertainment. However, the modern contrasts the old perfectly. Neon lights and disco balls flood the area, and gone are the days of waiting an eternity to get your ball back after your bowl – its clear no expense has been spared for the alley’s tech.
Good news! All tables come with a unique QR code to order all your favourite drinks straight to your table, minimising your need to queue or disrupt your game. Speaking of drinks, we need to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the slushie cocktails. Featuring all your favourites in frozen form – including strawberry daquiris and piña coladas – there are also many other weird and wonderful flavours to try, which all come topped with sweets. My personal favourites are the Sherbert Lemon and Blue Hawaiian, however this is probably the time to point out that they will set you back an eye-watering £9 each. An occasional treat which may feel a little more justifiable when student bowling is available for £6 per game from Sunday – Wednesday (with a valid NUS card).
Another selling point of Lane7 is undoubtedly the food. Leicester’s first permanent street food court really does feature the best of the best out there. As a vegetarian, I was a little worried there wouldn’t be a lot there for me, but I was very wrong. From the Got No Beef burger at What’s Your Beef to the Tofu green curry from Thai Express, there is plenty for veggies and vegans to take their pick from. Deckards claim to be specialists in bao buns, and its safe to say that they did not disappoint. I sampled their ingeniously-named ‘Hallouminati’ bao which features a buttermilk-fried-halloumi piece, roasted red pepper and cucumber topped with mango chutney and coriander and, I won’t lie, it was to die for. Ever the halloumi lover, we later picked up some halloumi fries from What’s Your Beef along with their double chicken and bacon burger for the carnivores of the group. The quality and care that is put into the street food is evident, and with such a variety of cuisines to choose from, you really are spoilt for choice. Plus, if you’re a fan of sweet treats, Fika has got your dessert covered with ice cream and bubble waffles topped with chocolate, sweets and strawberry sauce. Diabetes in a dessert? Maybe. But so, so worth it.
With more seating available up on the mezzanine level, you’re able to watch sporting events on the big screen while enjoying all the food and drink Lane7 has to offer. The quirkiness of the decor, array of neon signs, and fairy lights galore in the outdoor areas makes Lane7 potentially the most Instagram-able place in the city. Plus, with so much to keep you occupied, it really is a must-visit for students and families alike.
Lane7 is open 11am until 10pm 7 days a week, and becomes an 18+ venue after 7pm. For booking and more information, visit the website. Please note that our attendance was gifted, however this is in no way a paid post or advertisement.
The bowling editon of Let’s Explore Leicester includes Lane7 and can be found here.
Ella Johnson is a final year English student with a passion for politics, pop culture and the digital world. She acts as Lifestyle Chief Editor and 21/22 President. You can find her on Instagram here